When going out to the theater, galleries, concert halls, music venues. large libraries, or museums, you will be expected to check your coat at the coat check or cloakroom (šatna). This service may be free, but in some venues it will cost between 5 and 20 CZK. You hand over the coat and/or bag, and receive a coupon or ticket.
The Picture Remains in the Gallery
For some people, the reason to go to an exhibition is not so much what they can look at but what they can show people later – or upload onto their Facebook page. Unfortunately, most cultural establishments don’t share this enthusiasm for social media. If you would like to take a memento home from the exhibition they would usually prefer that you purchase one from the gift shop. Of course, the strictness of this depends on the venue – not to mention the vigilance of the staff. If a staff member taps you on the shoulder and mutters something to you in the gallery, and you happen to be holding a camera, chances are they’re asking you not to take photos.
A Night Out in Style
If you’re the kind of person who likes to get dressed up, then you’ll be pleased to know that older Czech theaters and concert halls give you a reason. These establishments insist on formal dress for the audience. The National Theater even has a picture of suggested attire on its door. However, if you are an opera lover who is more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt you are unlikely to be denied entry when you have bought a ticket. But you will probably get some ugly looks from local opera goers.
Anywhere is Still Somewhere
When going to the cinema, whether a mega-complex or a small arthouse one, you will more than likely be asked where you want to sit. In these instances, even if you respond by saying ‘anywhere’, the ticket will have the row (řada) and seat (sedadlo) numbers printed where you’re expected to sit. Of course, if the cinema is empty you can sit almost anywhere you want. As for cinema snacks, most (if not all) cinemas only want you to eat and drink what they sell, though in some cases this may include wine and beer. Very civilized.
Rock (Most of) the Night Away
One event you can usually drink at is a rock concert. However, if you’re used to bands starting late, you might be a bit surprised in Prague. If the concert gives a starting time of 20:00, this doesn’t just mean the doors will be open early with ample time to get as much beer into you as possible. The band will usually start playing on time because of the noise restrictions later in the evening in parts of Prague (especially in the center). It might not be true rock’n’roll, but at least you’ll be able to catch the last metro home.
Yeah, We’re on the Night…umm…Tram
The metro and tram services finish around 01:00, with some regular bus lines continuing just after. However, this does not mean you will be stranded as there are night tram and bus services which operate as part of the public transport system, so the same ticket system is used unless otherwise stated.
You can also take a cab. Czech taxi services generally don’t have a good reputation, and that is the opinion of many locals. One common complaint is that the drivers will try to exploit the assumed ignorance of their fare. This is definitely one of the occasions when speaking Czech is an advantage. As for price, I remember, vaguely, one cab ride from Malá Strana to Vinohrady costing about 180 CZK, and the driver took a direct route.
Spending a Penny. Paying in Crowns
When nature calls in Prague, it is usually collect. That is, you may have to pay 5 – 10 CZK to use toilets in metro stations and many public buildings. It is generally free in pubs, restaurants, and other private establishments. There are also automated toilets – those corrugated booths around the city – but I’m not sure who is brave enough to use them, especially when there will be a metro station or other facility nearby.
What are your tips and experiences for a night out in Prague?